Indeed, the calls from Microsoft are a huge scam. I've had a number of them over the years. They originate from call centers all over the world, mostly apparently from Asia, but now also from Africa and South America.
They always pretend your system needs an upgrade, due to a nasty virus attack of some sort. If you comply, they will install spyware or illegal access software on your computer that is likely to steal your personal (financial) data or add your computer to some criminal network.
The calls are often relayed by means of various proxy servers or any other way of obfuscation, making it almost impossible to track down where they come from. The police hardly do anything about them, at least so they told me, also because they are constantly moving targets, and national legislation can hardly tackle shady companies that crisscross the globe, and use servers in one country, legal registration in another etc. Frankly, the whole internet is a mess that way.
By the way, the iffy emails from banks, webshops and the like that ask for re-registration of usernames and passwords are cases of so-called 'phishing'. Never trust a mail from your bank that asks you to change your personal details. Always make a phone call to a trusted number (i.e. shown in a general phone directory or on your bank correspondence) of your bank etc. to ask if they know what this is about.
Also, if you access your trusted company website (type the address, don't click on mail links, because they are fake!), it will often display a note about current scams or frauds. But sometimes, companies aren't that forthcoming, because they feel reporting lots of scams may damage their image ....
Of course, a growing concern is the fact that fewer and fewer companies use telephone numbers for their communication, and there are even fewer physical offices you can approach in person. As it is, we have to live with an extremely buggy and unreliable internet and can only be as wary as we can of what it has to offer.
Edited by RichAlexis (08/18/14 09:37 AM)